Despite a gloomy outlook for the 2013-14 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have not given up hope.
Much of that is due to superstar player Kobe Bryant’s relentless rehabilitation and desire to get back on the floor to compete for a championship after suffering a debilitating Achilles tear at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
The Black Mamba is the heart and soul of this organization, and his willpower is giving the team’s supporters a glimpse of hope that this ragtag group of aging veterans and razor-thin supporting cast can mesh into something great.
Let’s take a look at how his recovery is going, the latest on what L.A.’s players will be sporting in terms of uniforms this year and more in Wednesday’s Lakers news roundup.
Bryant Running on Air
Kobe’s path back to the hardwood has been a transparent one, as the social-media-conscious Mamba has allowed his legion of fans glimpses into the hard work it takes to recover from an injury in the NBA at 34 years of age.
While we’ve seen stills of Bryant shooting jumpers in the gym and discussing how he has “shattered” the normal timetable for recovery from Achilles tears, this is the first time he has shown the ability to move fluidly in a basketball-related manner.
It’s certainly a revelation, although it is hard to judge how much this actually means in terms of him getting back in uniform and actually playing when the Lakers’ season tips off on Oct. 29.
For now, we’ll have to just take this clip of Bryant putting a low amount of pressure on his legs as a positive sign and yet another milestone on the long road to a successful return.
The Lakers are an organization steeped in tradition, but that doesn’t mean the NBA is going to make them exempt from a league-wide fashion-forward push toward short-sleeved uniforms.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, L.A. is one of five teams expected to wear the new "adizero" short-sleeve jersey from Adidas for up to 12 games during the upcoming campaign.
Seventeen teams across the league forced their players to don these during summer league, but only the Golden State Warriors had the bravado to trot them out during the regular season last year.
McMenamin noted that the Lakers' short-sleeved jerseys are white in color, which suggests they could be used in some of the club’s marquee Sunday matchups.
L.A. will be nationally televised 29 times during the 2013-14 season, so love it or hate it, expect to see these a handful of times in the coming months.
Lou Amundson Visits
The Lakers still have a few roster spots available and a handful of guaranteed contracts to dole out, so it makes sense that the organization is bringing in some veterans for meetings and workouts prior to training camp.
According to Shams Charania of RealGM, the latest invite was extended to “Sweet” Lou Amundson, a veteran big man who has bounced around the league during his seven-year career.
Amundson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the reporter that the meeting with the Lakers went well, as did a face-to-face sit down with the crosstown rival Los Angeles Clippers.
Bartelstein refused to comment on a front-runner for his client’s services, although Amundson is likely getting close to making a decision after entertaining a number of offers this offseason.
The 29-year-old holds career averages of 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds, with his most successful seasons coming as a teammate of Lakers point guard Steve Nash during their time with the Phoenix Suns.